I know how pretty Emerald Lake can be in the winter and I had a strong desire to pay that place a visit on this mountain get-a-way. When checking weather forecasts, today would be the best one to venture there. The only reason I waffled about going there was the condition of the highway. I love adventure, I play safe, I do take some chances because how else am I going to grow. I did not want to arrive back in Calgary at the weeks end regretting that I did not at least try to drive to Emerald Lake. I knew there would be options along the way to turn back if I just could not handle it. Before getting onto the highway west, I checked out the views around town here first.
From here to the Banff/Yoho National Parks border was just OK, I would have preferred better. But from there on it was dreadful. I could see where cars went off the road. There was no longer a divided highway, there were many of those large transport trucks in my vicinity, bare pavement was non-existent, passing lanes were not visible, I crawled but I was getting there. My knuckles were white, my shoulders were tense, but I was getting there. I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the Emerald Lake turnoff. I came prepared to hike or snowshoe or X-C Ski. When I saw the conditions there was no doubt my mode of travel, I clipped into my skis.
I skied in the groomed track to the end of Emerald Lake. At the end the track continued so I followed it. It was so delightful. I was the first one there today. It snowed last night so the track had new snow in it. I like it like that. This place was paradise. It seemed to go on forever and I just hoped eventually it would circle back and it did. I had no idea where I actually was but found out later that route is called the Alluvial Fan. I had the entire Fan to myself.
After enjoying the Fan, I made my way back across Emerald Lake and back to my car. I geared down, fuelled up and then went for a hike along the river in a winter wonderland. What a pretty peaceful paradise this place is!
Now it was time to face reality and hit that highway. I prayed it would now be in somewhat better shape. It was somewhat and I was happy about that. As I went along I realized there was no traffic and was even happier about they. I saw a truck up ahead on the side with a sign beside it. As I very slowly passed I saw it was a Parks truck and the sign said Avalanche Control Ahead. He waved me on and I went. I minute or so later I looked in my rear view and saw the truck had red and blue flashing lights going and was now sideways on the road. What the heck! I became concerned! I was praying he radioed to someone that I was coming through. I carried on and then came upon plumes of whatever, was it cloud, was it fog, was it snow? I got through it came out the other side and then heard a thunder. I put the pedal to the metal, I knew what that was all about. I then saw a helicopter fly by. What an adventure! All that seemed more scary then the drive in the morning. I enjoyed a few nice glasses of wine by the fire and was so happy, even given the drive to and from, that I got to experience Emerald Lake today. It was a day with no regrets!